Ask Keri: I’ve been hearing about people making their own hand sanitizer. Is this a good natural option?
Keri Says: In light of the coronavirus-sparked hand sanitizer shortage nationwide, many wellness devotees are taking matters into their own hands…literally. People have been DIYing with everything from aloe vera to Tito’s Vodka. (Uhh, cheers?)
The hand sanitizer shortage is real, for the record. Take a look at Amazon or your local drugstore and you’ll find many empty shelves. eBay banned the sale of hand sanitizers on March 5 after massive price gouging—to the tune of $100 per 2 ½-ounce bottle of Germ-X. Jeez, talk about kicking us while we’re down, huh?
It makes sense that when stores are low on hand sanitizer—say, during this coronavirus outbreak or a local natural disaster—searches for “how to make your own hand sanitizer” skyrocket online. “Hand sanitizer recipe” searches on Google jumped a whopping 1,750 percent the first week of March.
Unfortunately, most homemade hand sanitizers aren’t so great because they need to contain at least 60 percent alcohol, per the United States Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), and vodka is 40 percent. Aloe vera contains zero alcohol, naturally.
At 70+ percent alcohol, rubbing or isopropyl alcohol will get the job done. Problem is, the DIY versions rarely contain the emollients of the manufactured varieties that protect your skin from dryness caused by that high level of alcohol. Repeated skin exposure to rubbing alcohol has been linked to redness, burning, cracking, itching, and possibly rashes…so DIY isn’t always better.
That said, we definitely had some fun playing around with DIY hand sanitizer at the Nutritious Life office, and it has its place when you’re in a bind. The World Health Organization (WHO) has its own homemade hand sanitizer recipe, designed to be a hand-washing patch for people who don’t have access to clean water and soap. It works in emergency situations, but that dream team of suds, warm water, and a clean towel will always be the safest and most effective solution to kill germs, according to the CDC.
Still, if you find yourself far from H2O and need to make your own hand sanitizer, follow these guidelines:
- If you’re using booze, it needs to be 180 proof or more. Otherwise, seek out rubbing alcohol, which may be labeled isopropyl alcohol.
- Allow your hands to dry as the sanitizer soaks in. Don’t wipe it off.
- Include enough aloe or other moisturizing ingredients to prevent skin dryness and cracking.
- Apply a moisturizer after the sanitizer dries.
At the end of the day, preventing the spread of this nasty virus is the ultimate goal, so if making your own hand sanitizer is truly your best option, kudos to you for taking control of your health. Stay safe out there. <3